PALM HARBOR — After 37 years in the Pinellas County school district, John Burton is not ready to stop teaching yet.
After his "retirement" from Palm Harbor University High, the 59-year-old plans to start teaching in a private school in Tampa.
"I enjoy what I do, I enjoy teaching," said Burton, who taught International Baccalaureate history at Palm Harbor.
Though the veteran teacher is eligible to stay on for four more years under the state's retirement program, Burton said it's time for a change.
"The opportunity was there, and I decided it is the right time to make the switch," he said.
Burton taught at various high schools for decades: he started out at Boca Ciega High in 1974, and taught at Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Countryside and Palm Harbor. Those schools hold vivid memories: his first day of teaching at Boca Ciega, the time he dressed up as Rasputin and jumped out of a closet to give a lecture on Russian history at Pinellas Park; teaching a Palm Harbor student who turned out to be the child of another former student he had at Boca Ciega.
"It's rewarding when that happens," he said.
Though changes are ahead, one thing will stay constant for Burton: "I fish on the flats here. As long as I can take my boat to the dock in 10 minutes, it's okay," he said with a laugh.